Earlier today, we were informed that Elk Grove Unified School District was moving its spring break from April 6th to this Monday and closing all of its schools. Elk Grove has no reported cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), however, as reported widely on the news, a family in EGUSD has been quarantined after family members with the virus were exposed.
As of this time, Natomas Unified has no reported cases of COVID-19 in our schools. And there are, as of writing this, no known cases of COVID-19 in any Sacramento County schools. This is the first time we have faced a virus like this in the age of 24 hour news cycles and widespread social media usage. Unlike fires, flooding, and other natural challenges, we do not yet have science to tell us when COVID-19 will stop being an issue of concern. We cannot just close schools for a week, or two weeks, or even a month and promise that a return to normalcy will come soon.
Here’s our approach into this week:
- Since Natomas Unified has no known cases of COVID-19 and is not yet facing the family quarantine in EGUSD, schools will remain open.
- We will continue to monitor this day to day, throughout each day.
- We will continue working with the Sacramento County Office of Education and Sacramento County Public Health Department to do what is best for our students, staff, and families. Their guidance is that there is no need to close our schools at this time (see attached communication).
- We have been told that new state guidance is coming this weekend or Monday and that the guidance may require districts to close their schools for 14 days IF and WHEN a school has a student or staff member test positive for COVID-19.
What you should do:
- Parents/families need to be prepared that we may take an extended weekend this week after state guidance comes in. County Health officials have recommended if that is necessary to take that time, and close schools. That is an option. While we have taken significant measures already (see below), if we feel taking some time, letting students stay home for some time next week may help, we will make that decision and communicate to you.
- Please plan accordingly. We understand that time off next week would add a strain to a significant number of families in our community. However, we must keep our options open, monitoring day to day and throughout each day.
- Wash hands with soap and water often. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Stay home if you have a fever or are feeling sick. Symptoms of the flu can vary, but generally include a high fever, headache, chills, body aches, sore throat, and cough.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when sneezing or coughing.
- Wash your hands.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
What we have done already:
- Worked with neighboring school leaders, the Sacramento County Office of Education and Sacramento County Public Health Department.
- Communicated with our charter schools and spoke with labor leaders.
- Sent multiple communications through multiple mediums to families and staff.
- Developed protocols to address COVID-19 in the schools that include how to handle out of country travel, asymptomatic screening, and an emergency response plan in the event that a student/staff member exhibits symptoms. We also have a fact sheet for the website.
- Trained nurses, health assistants, and principals on the developed protocols.
- Purchased site supplies per recommendations such as Purell and Clorox Wipes for each site.
- Purchased twelve new GenEon machines so each school site has the ability to disinfect the entire school on a weekly schedule and more often if needed.
- Implemented a new cleaning schedule. Each site will be cleaned either Thursday or Friday evening.